Govt unveils new digital platform to ease voters’ access to electoral information

Friday January 01 2021
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Mr Awel Uwihanganye, the head of Government Citizen Interaction Center (GCIC)

By Job Bwire

Government through the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance has unveiled a voter information platform, Uchaguzi to ensure there is interactivity and ease of access to information on electoral and voter education, as well as provide a civic education platform that will bridge the electoral knowledge gap, among others.

Mr Awel Uwihanganye, the head of  Government Citizen Interaction Center (GCIC) Friday said that the new platform has three digital assets – website (www.Uchaguzi.go.ug), app (mobile) and chat-bot. The same information is syndicated across the three channels.

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Users of the new platform have three ways of accessing voter information: website, app or chatbot. PHOTO/ JOSEPH KIZZA

He said the platforms makes it easy for the voters to access, verify and find out more about the polling guidelines from the comfort of their homes before the coming elections.

According to Awel, the platform is not affiliated to any political party or candidate but is simply an alternative source of information about next year’s election.

The ICT minister, Ms Judith Nabakooba said the Uchaguzi platform, whose name was derived from the Swahili word that means election fulfills the mandate of the ministry in enabling access to information.

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“It also supports Government Citizen Interaction Centre's open government initiative which seeks to improve citizen's interaction and ease access to e-services.

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Some of the experts behind the platform

According to Anna Reismann, the country director - Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Uganda and South Sudan which supported the project, Uchaguzi website, the Uchaguzi App and the Uchaguzi Chat-bot outline the key policy positions as presented by the different political parties and independent candidates.

“They are also a central user-friendly source of accurate, trustworthy, and up-to-date information about the forthcoming general elections amidst a pandemic. The digital tools have been created to bridge the citizen’s electoral knowledge gap, facilitate voter education and provide a platform to engage with key constituents of the electoral process,” she said.

“We believe that voter information is essential and we wanted to contribute to creating a platform that is user-friendly, comprehensive, easy to access and to understand. With this platform, we want to reach out to the registered voters with as much information as possible throughout the election process. But we also hope to attract the interest of the Ugandan citizens to visit the Uchaguzi platform and to learn more about the election cycle, the presidential and parliamentary elections, their candidates and the election results. We encourage everyone to use these tools to gain a better understanding of the general elections” she added.

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Mr Mulekwah Leonard, acting secretary, Electoral Commission which is the source of information for the new platform said: “The Electoral Commission appreciates the efforts of the GCIC at the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, in reinforcing the EC efforts of educating and sensitizing voters ahead of the forthcoming General Elections.”

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